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Super Bowl 50 Tops M*A*S*H Finale in Viewers

Super Bowl 50 aired almost two weeks ago but I’ve only now had the time to update my Goodbye, Farewell and Amen Ratings Analysis. Not surprisingly, the big game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos was the highest-rated and most-watched TV program since last year’s Super Bowl. It was watched by 111.86 million viewers. That’s actually not a new record but it still pushes “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” to eighth on the list of most-watched TV broadcasts in the United States.

“Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was watched by 105.9 million viewers back in February 1983. For 27 years it was the single most-watched TV broadcast in U.S. history. It wasn’t until Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 that “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was finally dethroned. Currently, Super Bowl XLIX (2015) is the single most-watched TV broadcast with 114.44 million viewers.

Most-Watched Television Broadcasts in U.S. History
## Program Year Average Viewers
1. Super Bowl XLIX 2015 114,442,000
2. Super Bowl XLVIII 2014 112,191,000
3. Super Bowl 50 2016 111,864,000
4. Super Bowl XLVI 2012 111,346,000
5. Super Bowl XLV 2011 111,010,000
6. Super Bowl XLVII 2013 108,693,000
7. Super Bowl XLIV 2010 106,476,000
8. “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” 1983 105,970,000
9. Super Bowl XLIII 2009 98,732,000
10. Super Bowl XLII 2008 97,448,000

As always, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” is still the highest-rated TV broadcast of all time with a 60.2 household Nielsen rating. No other broadcasts come close and that’s a record that will likely never be broken. The highest-rated Super Bowl was Super Bowl XVI (1982) with a 49.1 rating. This year’s Super Bowl 50 averaged a 46.6 rating.

It’s also not quite fair to compare a sporting event like the Super Bowl to a scripted TV episode, even one as heavily promoted and anticipated as “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was. An increasing population meant it was only a matter of time before a Super Bowl game beat “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.” I admit that it is a little sad to see the finale pushed down the list every year, that doesn’t take anything away from its accomplishments.

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